"My “to-be-read” pile doesn’t actually exist wholly in physical form. Instead, it’s an amalgam of titles I keep in my head; on a book app called Litsy; on notes I write in my phone; in assorted towers of books around my home—and, of course, on my list of Hold Requests at EPL."
"I didn’t even read the back of this one. If it’s Jemisin, it’s good enough for me. But if it matters to you…this is the first in the Broken Earth series and the setting is a post-apocalyptic science fiction world. Many reviews mention that having the second book, The Obelisk Gate, already on hand before finishing this one will save you the pain of waiting to see what happens; it’s that compelling."
"From the hardcover edition: “Stretching from the wars in Ghana to slavery and the Civil War in America, from the coal mines in the American South to the Great Migration to twentieth-century Harlem, Yaa Gyasi’s novel moves through histories and geographies and captures—with outstanding economy and force—the troubled spirit of [America].” This one’s been on my pile since before its official release."
The first in a duology about Empress Wu, China’s only female emperor, this book should be interesting, not least because Randel is China-born and -educated, which I think will provide a different filter than a non-Chinese author would. I’m usually leery of novels about “feisty concubines in Ancient China,” but I’m intrigued by this one.
"This is the second in a trilogy, so if you haven’t read An Ember in the Ashes, go there first. Tahir writes her teenaged protagonists with skill and compassion, setting their struggles to carve out identity and to claim self against a tense backdrop of violence and betrayal. The characters’ choices are dark and, as with any second book in a trilogy, I suspect one has to be prepared for the difficulties to mount at ever more alarming cost."
"I’m intrigued by how Yang tells the familiar “immigrant narrative” and its attendant “assimilation narrative” through the medium of comics. Yang weaves his story from three tales involving Jin Wang, sole Chinese student at his new school; the Monkey King, mythical figure out of Chinese fable; and Chin-Kee, a walking stereotype of all things Chinese. I can smell the conflict brewing from here…"
"A science fiction classic that I’m long overdue to read. Written and published before the term “identity politics” became mainstream, Le Guin—a sensation most recently for her speech at the 2014 National Book Awards—explores the concept of gender by throwing a gendered protagonist into the culture of the planet, Winter, where every inhabitant is the same sex."
While I don’t think this is necessarily a “literary crime” novel, reviews indicate that it successfully blends together elements of a gripping plot with a moving exploration of family. I’m definintely also intrigued that the family in question is Chinese American and the setting is a 1970s-era midwestern small-town.
A young girl, a dead father, a tree that yields truth as long as it’s fed lies. The premise of this novel sounds both dark and illuminatory, a seeming contradiction I’m intensely curious to see played out. Plus, it won the UK’s Costa Book of the Year in 2015, the first children’s book to do so since 2000.
Yeah, in case you forgot: I’m a crime writer. While I’m respectful of death, I also don’t get too precious about it. This non-fiction book originally caught my eye because it’s described as oddly compelling and often hilarious. Not something one usually hears in relation to dead bodies.
I’m always interested in 1930s-era books, fiction and non-fiction, and this novel has the added benefit of being a blend of real people and fictional characters. That’s a difficult balance to maintain well and I’m curious to see how Trigiani accomplishes it. Besides, “golden age of moviemaking,” right? ’Nuff said.
Visit Capital City Press and for more reading recommendations from featured writer SG Wong including her list of Love Stories Without the Saccharine, Great Spring Break Reads, Picture Books I Love, Favourite Hidden Gems and titles celebrating International Women's Day.